DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have just observed the second anniversary of the death of our firstborn child, and I have finally gathered the courage to write this letter.
My child, the passenger, was killed instantly in a horrible car accident. The driver died a few hours later. Both of these teen-agers had been drinking. The driver had a fake ID, and apparently had purchased alcohol for both of them. The autopsy report on my child came back as legally intoxicated.
My husband and I did everything we could to warn our child about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. Our words fell on deaf ears, despite all our pleas and warnings.
Even after two years, it's still difficult to allow our surviving teen-ager the freedom to go out at night. That wreck is always in the back of our minds. Though this child is dependable and responsible, we live in fear of the deadly driving of another drunken teen who thinks the only way to have fun is to illegally purchase alcohol and other drugs.
Since the world is still reeling from the shock of the senseless death of the Princess of Wales, perhaps it's a good time for those who admired her to stop and think before getting behind the wheel of a car after they've been drinking.
I realize the problems of driving while intoxicated are not limited to teen-agers and young adults. Everyone, regardless of age, needs to be made aware of this horrible problem so common in our society today.
Parents and teachers, please show this letter to the young people you care about. It may cause some kids to wake up before it's too late. -- GRIEVING MOM IN TEXAS
DEAR GRIEVING MOM: I offer my deepest sympathy on the tragic loss of your firstborn. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I hope your letter will serve as a cautionary reminder about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Although for years parents have hammered home the message, "Don't drive if you've been drinking," they should also emphasize that when passengers are intoxicated, they cannot reliably judge the sobriety of the driver.